PSYC 2400 Lecture 6: Unit 7 - Mentally Ill Offenders

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3 Mar 2017
Department
Course
Professor
Unit 7 Mentally Ill Offenders
Case Studies
Canadian Media Cases
Vince Li, beheaded a passenger on a Greyhound bus
o Believed God selected him to save us from an alien attack
o Found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder
Jeffrey Arenburg, paranoid schizophrenic, shot a TV news reporter
o Believed the station was broadcasting messages in his head
The real story
o 73% of all mentally disordered characters on prime time American TV display some sort
of violent behaviour
o Most important take home message today is: despite the media, most seriously
mentally ill people do not commit serious violent crimes, rather they are more likely to
trespass, shoplift, or commit minor assault
Understanding and Diagnosing Mental Illness
What is mental illness?
A disode a disease of the id that epets judge to itefee sigifiatl ith a peso’s
ability to cope with daily life
How is it diagnosed?
o Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder
o Increasing number
o Temporal changes
o Psychiatric focus
Mood Disorders 101
Depression: feeling down in the dumps/extreme sadness and loss of interest/pleasure in
activities
Bi-polar: cycles of depression and mania when there is an abnormally and persistently
elevated, expansive, or irritable mood
Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders 101
Many disorders fall within this diagnostic spectrum
Main feature: psychotic symptoms
o Delusions (faulty thoughts)
o Hallucinations (faulty perceptions)
Delusion or Hallucination?
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The goeet is out to get e; the follow me everywhere, bug my apartment, hack my
eails
God told e I had to kill  hilde to sae the
Alies ae speakig to e though adio aes
Referral Decision Scale (Teplin and Swartz)
Schizophrenia
o Have you ever believed people were following you?
o Have you ever felt that other people knew your thoughts and could read your mind?
Major Depression
o Have you ever lost your appetite for a period of two or more weeks? Have you ever lost
or gained 2 pounds or more in a week?
Bipolar
o Have your thoughts raced to fast that you had trouble keeping track of them?
o Fo a peiod of a eek hae ou ee felt that ou did’t eed to sleep e uh, ut
ee’t sleep?
Competency
The Importance of Competency
First mentioned in early 17th century in Britain
o A mad man should not be executed because it would be a miserable spectacle, an act
of ihuait, ad uelt, ad ould ot see as a deteet eaple
Two underlying values in contemporary court systems
o Fair trial
o Accurate trial
Canadian Criminal Code, says a person is unfit to stand trial (UST) if:
Unable on the account of a mental disorder to
o Understand the nature or object of the proceedings
o Understand the possible consequences of the proceedings
o Communicate with counsel
Presumed to be fit to stand trial
Crown, Defence, Judge raises issue of fitness -> fitness assessment -> fitness hearing -> fit (75%)
-> trial proceeds
Crown, Defence, Judge raises issue of fitness -> fitness assessment -> fitness hearing -> unfit
(25%) -> treatment order -> fitness hearing -> fit -> trial proceeds
Crown, Defence, Judge raises issue of fitness -> fitness assessment -> fitness hearing -> unfit ->
review board -> annual review -> custody in hospital or conditional discharge
How is Fitness Assessed?
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